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How to plan for SAFETY in your job?

In an effort to provide a formal and organized process to manage all aspects of Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) issues at its laboratories, the DOE developed the Integrated Safety Management System (ISMS). In short, it's a process that allows people (such as staff and collaborators) at all levels to plan, perform, assess and improve their implementation of ES&H at work. The system puts the responsibility for safety on each individual.

Fundamental to the process are the Guiding Principles that can be viewed as "best management practices", which are the policies that integrate ISMS at all levels; the Core Functions, which provide the day-to-day tools used to translate policies into something we can all understand. And there is the Work Smart Standards Set, that provides the laws and regulations that we have to work within at SLAC.

As many injuries and illnesses come about because of poor work planning, the core function framework can be applied to all tasks. From the simple and potentially hazardous, such as using a Skillsaw to cut a piece of wood, to the complex and potentially hazardous, such as operating heavy equipment or running a complicated experiment. SLAC has adopted the ISMS process and promotes its values at all working levels.

A list of Guiding Principles and Core Functions follows:

Guiding Principles:

  • Everyone (employee, user, subcontractor) is responsible and accountable for the safe conduct of their own activities.
  • There are clear roles and lines of responsibility, authority and accountability at all levels of the organization. Everyone has the right to tell someone to stop a potentially dangerous or environmental threatening activity.
  • Everyone in the workforce has the experience, knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their work safely and competently.
  • Management allocates resources (money, time, effort) to ensure work can be performed safely.
  • Hazards shall be evaluated and appropriately controlled before work is performed to provide adequate protection to employees, the public and the environment.
  • Engineered or administrative controls shall be in place to mitigate to acceptable levels work associated hazards.
  • No work will be performed unless it can be done safely.

Core Functions:

  • Define the Scope of Work - What is the job?
    Supervisors/Managers/Responsible Persons define what work needs to be done to achieve the mission of the lab. Within this they set expectations, prioritize tasks and allocate resources.
  • Analyze the Hazard - What safety hazards are present or possible?
    During this step the hazards associated with a particular job, task or project are identified and analyzed to determine regulatory and compliance needs.
  • Develop and Implement Hazard Controls - How can this job be performed safely?
    After identifying the standards or regulations pertaining to a hazard or category of hazards, solutions are proposed to minimize risks, allowing for a safe and healthful work place. Implementation of the safety controls that mitigate or reduce hazards to acceptable levels are employed and the safety envelope is established.
  • Perform Work within Controls - Don't take chances, cut corners or rush to finish a job. Confirm the readiness of the safety controls to do their job (such as shielding for radiation, or providing eye protection in a machine shop) and perform the work safely.
  • Provide for Feedback and Continuous Improvement - Make a note if the job could have been done in a better way or more safely, and make the change happen.
  • As within any system, feedback (meetings with supervisors, staff meetings, lessons learned programs, etc.) is a necessity to understand what works and what doesn't, This process allows for real time intervention and provides assurance the safety system operates to expectations.

Work Smart Standards Set

What ES&H regulations are out there to help me get my work done safely and within the boundaries of the law, and if I don't know, where can I go for help?

The laws and regulations that specify the ES&H requirements for the laboratory have been identified through a site analysis of potential hazards, and are contained in the SLAC Work Smart Standards (WSS) set. These requirements are extensive. While it is not necessary that everyone know the details of these laws and regulations, it is necessary that workers know about the hazards of their job or task and that managers and supervisors, know how and where to obtain help in defining which part of the WSS applies to their activities (such as from their the Divisional ES&H Coordinator or the, ES&H Division).

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